Post # 1
Even the title of this post seems intrusive. But, I love my best friend and I am very concerned about her relationship. She is my closet friend, was there for me during my MS diagnosis, was my Maid/Matron of Honor and means the world to me.
She met a man online about 1 year ago. They are in seperate regions (she in the North, he in the south). She told me immediately about their relationship and I was estatic for her. She’s 27 and this is her first ever relationship. However, there have been some red flags and I wanted to know what you all thought and if you think I should talk to her.
She is in surgery residency and he is currently in residency waiting for fellowship (further education beyond residency). He asked her about 6 months into the relationship to leave her top choice residency program in Mass so that she could be with him in Alabama. She has been away from home for 8 years pursuing her studies and I remember being taken aback when she said he wanted her to leave her program. I guess he thought she should leave because she’s less far along but the program he wanted her to join was poorly rated and not a good choice. I couldn’t believe he would ask her (so early too) to leave her passion so they could live together in the same city.
He also wanted to be official gf/bf with her after their first in person meeting and now he’s mentioning the ring. My friend is very kind but almost too kind and I feel like he senses this and wants to “lock her down”.
I’m getting worried because my friend badly wants to be engaged. I think she sees financial stability with this person but I have my concerns. She is wanting to get engaged this year (will be 1.5 years together). They are apart right now and will continue to be apart until 2021. She wants to get married in 2020. Given that this is an online relationship, I think they should wait but she is worried about him moving for fellowship and wanting to secure the relationship with an engagement. I have mentioned to her to maybe wait til it’s closer to 2021 to get engaged so that they can be that much closer to then living together but she wants to get engaged now as she’s feeling peer pressured seeing everyone else getting engaged. My friend has been emotional seeing other doctors match near to each other and then discontinue their LDR and move in. I’m worried she’s rushing into this because of feeling like she’s behind at 27 and he’s rushing in for a different reason. What do you all make of this situation?
Post # 2
Maybe they’re rushing.
But they’re also both adults, and i get that you don’t love all her decisions, but if they are mistakes they’re her mistakes to make.
Other than suggesting she wait, which you have, there’s nothing you can do.
Post # 3
I see nothing troubling about any of this. He was free to ask her to move & she was free to decline. It doesn’t appear to have been been anything coercive (as she didn’t move & the relationship continued to progress). They’ve been in a relationship for 1.5 years & and are discussing next steps. Seems reasonable to me.
Post # 4
If it were me, I would express my concerns once then drop it. I’ve done this with my own friends, and I’ve had friends do this with me when they thought I was making some questionable, big decisions. Luckily, in our friend group we’re all pretty receptive to hearing the other person out so it has not caused problems for us.
Post # 5
Sounds totally normal. If she asks for advice, give it. Otherwise, butt out.
Post # 6
Based on what you’ve shared here, there could be red flags flapping and it could also be the normal progression of an LDR and people with demanding career paths. I side eye any man asking a woman to leave her top choice residency in a more prestigious program for a lower quality one just to be closer to him, but men (and women) are still often trained to think that a woman sacrificing her career for a man is acceptable and even to be expected.
I would also think that, if these people are in love and see themselves ending up together, they would continue that even if her SO were to get into a fellowship program. They’re already long distance. How does a fellowship change that? (for that matter, how does an engagement change that?) But years of distance can be hard to navigate, no matter the field you are in.
I think you should share concerns that come up with your friend as they relate to her choices but not as they relate to her partner (for the time being). So, for instance- with the residency program thing (if she sounded like she was considering it), I would absolutely say “You wouldn’t seriously consider giving up your residency in this program (which was your top pick) for that residency there, right? That one is much lower rated than the one you are in.” as opposed to what I really wanted to say, which would be “If he loves you so much, why would he ask you to transition from a top rated program to a lower quality program just to be closer to him? That doesn’t sound very loving or supportive of you and your goals. That sounds selfish and self serving.”
If she wants to be engaged/married and this is the person she wants to be with, you aren’t going to be able to stand in the way of that. Much better that you continue to be a sounding board and supportive friend where she can share openly about what she’s experiencing. If she hasn’t been in a relationship before, she will need that.
Post # 7
As someone who got engaged after 6 months I don’t think they’re rushing it. I’ve seen marriages end where the couple were together a long time and a short time, and I’m not convinced it makes a difference. And I definitely do not believe that you have to live with someone before marrying them. I would never live with someone unless I loved them enough to marry them. The fact is sometimes you just know. I am assuming they have met in person. As to the fellowship, that’s for her to work out.
*Just in case someone tells me that I need to cite a study on divorce with variable times of knowing each other, let me stress that this is my opinion. *
Post # 8
If I have learned anything it is that there is nothing you can do. She is going to make her choice and you just have to let her make her mistakes. I don’t think there is really anything you can do to change her mind, and if you do really try it could damage your relationship with her.
If you feel like talking to her, why not ask her why she can’t stay in her program and he moves to her, why does she have to move to him? Id also just gently remind her how hard she has worked in her program and ask her if leaving it for one that isn’t good is truely what she thinks is best.
Post # 9
- Wedding: September 2020 - Summer Camp!
She’d be making a mistake if she did it most likely, but all you can do is give her your opinion if she asks. Tell her she should wait and if they’re meant to be, they’ll make it work long-distance for now.
Post # 10
Thanks for the non-snarky and super helpful advice guys! I guess it’s worth noting she tried twice now to move to a residency program close to him (he’s doing fellowship in Georgia, so she tried looking in GA recently). I guess this second attempt to leave her amazing program got me worried how much he’s pressuring her. But in the end, I think she’s wanting to make it work at all costs and trying to talk to her again would fall on deaf ears.
Post # 11
Question for you… have you met your BFF’s boyfriend? Because I get the protectiveness. I’m the same with my best friend. Her partner had a big hurdle to climb when he met me. Meeting the boyfriend in person might a good way to allievate your concerns. He could be a total gem… or he could be an ass. Either way, getting to know him better will allow you to put both his and your friend’s actions in context. And if distance makes getting to know him a challenge try skype!
Post # 12
I just wanted to comment about the feasability of leaving a residency program… Transferring residencies isn’t something that happens very often and can be very very difficult, especially if she’s in a surgical subspecialty residency where there are very small class sizes. It’s really not just something you can just *do*. And you can’t leave residency early without a plan for finishing it elsewhere, since you won’t be eligible to be board certified and practice medicine in that specialty that way. It’s a very challenging situation. It does happen occasionally, but it’s not the same as leaving a job or transferring to another school. So with that in mind, I am honestly shocked that he would ask her 6 months into the relationship to transfer to another residency program… I think that is a HUGE ask and frankly completely overstepping and devaluing her career. Again, it’s just not the same as someone switching jobs or transferring to another branch to relocate.
How many years into her residency is she, and how long is his fellowship? And why didn’t he try to match for fellowship near her? If he’s starting fellowship this summer, he probably applied for fellowship after they were dating, right? So he should have tried to go near her if he wanted to close the distance gap. That seems like it would have made the most sense, and his not doing that makes me question if he is willing to make any sacrifices for her like he is asking her to do for him.
This is tough, I just wanted to provide some context/perspective about the residency aspect of this situation. I am a current MS4 and I am finding out where I matched for residency this Friday, for reference.
I think it’s a pretty big mistake to potentially jeopardize a career that she has clearly worked SO hard for (medical school and residency is VERY HARD, and it sounds like she is at a top prestigious program as well) in order to pursue a long distance online relationship with someone who hasn’t made any effort to close the long distance gap himself. I would be very concerned, personally.
Post # 13
I agree, she prob won’t listen to you. Him rushing everything despite barely knowing her is concerning. Being online long distance is different then being together for 6 months. TBH he sounds controlling, esp telling her to leave her career goals behind. If he truly loved her, he would encourage her to pursue her surgical residency and make an effort himself to move to her.
Post # 14
Congratulations on matching! I hope you get your first choice.
You seem to have a similar line of thinking as me and since you have also gone through the med school route, I hope you don’t mind me asking some questions.
He tried to get fellowship near her but did not get offered any interviews. He got a GA fellowship and then she tried to look into also moving to GA (and for the second time leaving her residency program) but could not justify leaving since they will both be so busy despite being in the same city. Would you say it’s common for doctors to get married and then live separately?
I completely agree. I didn’t even know you could leave residency at all. She is currently in her top-choice teaching program and he wanted her to move to a community program that she herself said “wasn’t great”. I’m just concerned my friend will have to give up her career in 5 years for a family.
I just do have some worries about the general fact that when you are LDR and start your relationship LDR, you visit the person and are seeing them for a brief period and it’s almost like a vacation. I keep urging her to spend (any) break she has with him so that she can see him in day-to-day life for a longer period of time. He’s used his past 2 vacation days on trips to Pakistan for family so unfortunately I don’t know when they will able to vacation together, even!
Post # 15
Seriously? You see nothing troubling about some guy she’s know for 6 months (long distance, no less) asking her to make an enormous career sacrifice so he can stay where he wants to be and still have her nearby? How would you feel if it was your sister or your daughter giving up this huge thing she’d worked the better part of a decade for?
OP, I can totally see why you’re concerned. I would be too. But I have no advice other than to just keep being a good friend to her. I hope it all works out.